I was ironing my sheets, allowing my mind to wander, trying to think about what to write in this month’s magazine article – well ironing is a rather mind-numbing exercise! I invited God into my thoughts and then it came to me.
Over the last few months I have been praying the Examen, either in the evening or before I go to bed. It is a prayer of inviting God to be with us as we review the day we just had. I usually think about the key points in the day and ask myself what am I most grateful for today? I’ve been surprised to see that most days it is more than just one thing. I have come to see that my days are punctuated with lots of things to be thankful for: a meaningful conversation, an unexpected email or phone call from a friend, good food, or a fascinating piece of writing. Even in the rather predictable days or the difficult days there is usually something to give thanks to God for.
Then the second question is what has made me dissatisfied today? Once I have pinpointed what it is, which doesn’t take too long, the idea is not to dwell on it but to invite God into that situation. As I do so I may ask for healing, forgiveness, or help to see how that situation or conversation might have been better. Sometimes it is simply just to allow it to be; perhaps in that moment it is too difficult to analyse it, but just to allow God to be with me in that feeling of dissatisfaction.
You may be thinking what’s the point of all that? Well, for me it has reminded me that God is in the everyday of life. I have come to see God’s hand in the little things which has made me more thankful to God. It has helped me to learn from things where I can or at times just accept things, not with resignation, but with a sense that God’s presence is there beside me and that is enough.
So, I commend it to you, especially if your life at times feel far too busy for prayer or you don’t know where to start. If you think this type of prayer is far too focused on yourself then you’ll soon find this isn’t the case; you’ll find yourself praying for people you’ve met, people you’ve heard about in the news, or situations that have come to your attention. Most of all I hope it encourages you to see God at work in the everyday of life.